Judge Who Dismissed Chea Vichea Case To Move

As part of the country’s latest reshuffling of judges and prosecutors, Stung Treng Provincial Court Judge Hing Thirith will move to the position of prosecutor general for the Supreme Court, according to a royal decree signed by King Nor­odom Sihamoni on Jan 31.

Hing Thirith gained notoriety in 2004 when he was transferred from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to Stung Treng five days after he dismissed the case against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, the two men accused of killing Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea. Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were subsequently found guilty for the murder in August 2005, but released on bail in December last year when the Supreme Court or­dered that the case be reinvestigated.

Contacted Wednesday, Hing Thirith declined to comment on his new position.

King Sihamoni signed several royal decrees ordering the rotation or removal of 28 judges and prosecutors on Jan 31, as part of the Supreme Council of Magistracy’s claimed effort to fight corruption.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court Director Svay Sisarouth, who was off­icially removed from her position by a Jan 31 royal decree, said Wed­nes­day that she lost her position due to a procedural technicality, and not because of decisions made by her and her court that have been criticized locally and abroad.

Svay Sisarouth said by telephone that she was dropped as court director because during a case in January last year, she read the verdict by herself and not with two other judges as required by the criminal procedure code.

“I am not so much regretful,” she said, adding that although she was wrong to read the verdict alone, the two judges who were supposed to be present did not come.

“I didn’t remember all the procedures because it was too new,” she said, adding that other courts have been guilty of the same offense.

“As the court’s director, it’s a lot of work,” she said.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vath­ana could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

 

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